Access to Financial Institutions

Background

During the initial claims process and later reviews of eligibility, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants and recipients are required to report their resources to ensure they are eligible for SSI. Our studies found that money above the resource limit held by SSI recipients is a leading cause of payment errors. As a result, we examined alternatives to the traditional SSI asset verification practices of recipient self-reporting and direct contacts with financial institutions. The Access to Financial Institutions (AFI) process is an effective means of reducing errors with those aspects of SSI.

AFI is an automated process that verifies alleged bank account balances with financial institutions to identify potential excess resources in financial accounts held by SSI applicants, recipients, and deemors. In addition to verifying alleged bank accounts, AFI detects undisclosed accounts using unique search criteria called geographic searches. We conduct up to 10 geographic searches per individual for each review. We use AFI to verify financial accounts during the SSI application process, as well as when we conduct periodic redeterminations of continued eligibility, thereby detecting excess resources and deterring reoccurrence.